Saturday, January 14, 2012

Which WHL player is this and what happened? Keep reading to find out.
SaiPa Lappeenranta (Finland, SM-Liiga) exercised its option to extend the tryout contract with F Riley Armstrong (Kootenay, Everett, 2002-04) for the rest of this season. Armstrong has two goals and one assist in five games with SaiPa. Earlier this season, he had three goals and four assists in nine games with the Elmira Jackals (ECHL) and one goal and two assists in five games with Binghamton Senators (AHL). . . . SaiPa head coach Ari-Pekka Selin: "Riley gives us more opportunities within our lineup. He's played in five games and has shown that he can certainly improve our game. He plays with good power and plays well in front of the net." . . .
F Dan DaSilva (Portland, 2002-05) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Olten (Switzerland, NL B). He started the season with with Lev Poprad (Slovakia, KHL), getting one assist in 15 games. He then joined La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland, NL B) as an injury replacement for Benoit Mondou, where he had six goals and four assists in eight games. DaSilva was released by La Chaux-de-Fonds once Mondou, the son of former Montreal Canadiens F Pierre Mondou, was healthy. . . .
F Roman Tomanek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) signed a two-year plus option year contract with Nitra (slovakia, Extraliga). He was pointless in seven games with Mlada Boleslav (Czech Republic, Extraliga) and had eight goals and four assists in 23 games with Banska Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga) earlier this season.
It’s true.
The Portland Winterhawks are in a position where they could end up with three import players in their lineup at the same time.
That would be the exception to the rule that allows teams a maximum of two such players.
Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ general manager and head coach, mentioned that possibility after acquiring German F Marcel Noebels from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday.
Noebels joins Swiss sophomore F Sven Baertschi as the two imports now on Portland’s roster.
The Winterhawks also own the WHL rights to F Nino Niederreiter, 19, who is with the NHL’s New York Islanders. He has one goal and four penalty minutes in 18 games this season. He also is a minus-11.
The Niederreiter situation is covered under the following CHL import rule:
"An underage Import Player can be returned to his CHL Club until the NHL Trade Deadline date. Should an underage Import Player be returned to his CHL Club after the respective League’s trade deadline, and if the Club at that time has two Import Players, the Club shall be permitted to play three Import Players for the balance of the regular season, playoffs and Memorial Cup. This benefit cannot be traded to another Club. If a CHL Club has two Import Players, and wish to trade for the rights of an underage Import Player who is playing in the NHL, they must either delete or trade one of their Import Players to make an Import position available."
Richard Doerksen, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, added this: “The reason for the rule is the CHL feels that all underage players should be treated similarly should the NHL Club wish to return them to their CHL Club.”
All told, the WHL has four underage players who are eligible to be returned by the NHL’s trade deadline (Feb. 27). The others are F Ryan Johansen (Columbus Blue Jackets), whose WHL team is Portland; F Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton Oilers/Red Deer Rebels) and F Brett Connolly (Tampa Bay Lightning/Tri-City Americans).
The Tri-City Americans issued a news release Friday afternoon announcing that they have extended the contract of head coach Jim Hiller. However, they chose not to announce the length of the extension. We can assume that this was the last season of Hiller's contract and I would guess the extension runs through 2013-14. Hiller is in his third season as the Americans' head coach and went into Friday with a 123-54-7 record, which computes to a rather amazing .688 winning percentage. He also guided the Americans to the 2010 WHL final where they lost to the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Tri-City general manager Bob Tory signed Hiller after he had been dumped by the Chilliwack Bruins (remember them?). . . .
Jim McKenzie (Moose Jaw, Victoria, 1986-89) is the new head coach of the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks, who fired head coach Kevin Patrick on Friday. Patrick was in his second season with Muskegon, which was 9-14-2 when the move was made. McKenzie, 42, is a former NHLer, who played 880 games with 100 points, 48 of them goals, and 1,739 penalty minutes. He has a Stanley Cup ring from the 2002-03 New Jersey Devils. Josh Mervis, the Lumberjacks’ CEO and owner, has stepped in as general manager. Muskegon also cut a deal with Ron Mason, the former Michigan State Spartans head coach, to help out as a senior advisor. . . . There now have been three coaching changes in the USHL this season.
For more on the Muskegon situation and USHL happenings in general, check out Slightly Chilled, over there on the right.
When F Patrick Holland of the Tri-City Americans woke up Thursday, his NHL rights belonged to the Calgary Flames, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2010 NHL draft. When he went to bed, his rights were with the Montreal Canadiens, thanks to a trade made that evening.
What does that mean to Holland in the short term?
Well, here’s a tweet from him: “You know it's a good pregame nap when you pick up another 300 followers.”
And he also tweeted this: “Je pense que mon talent avec mon baton est un petit peu meilleur que mon francais. #languageproblems”
In the BCHL on Friday night the Penticton Vees ran their winning streak to 22 games, beating the visiting Langley Rivermen, 9-2. The Vees are at home to the Prince George Spruce Kings tonight.
In Brandon, F Chad Robinson broke a 4-4 tie at 2:18 of the third period as the Red Deer Rebels dumped the Wheat Kings, 5-4. . . . Robinson is from Minnedosa, Minn., which is just north of Brandon on No. 10 highway. . . . He has five goals this season. . . . The Wheat Kings blew a 3-1 first-period lead. . . . Brandon F Mark Stone had two goals, giving him 29, and two assists. . . . Red Deer G Deven Dubyk, making his 10th straight start, stopped 29 shots. . . . Brandon D Brodie Melnychuk did the Gordie Howe hat trick thing — before the game was 12 minutes old. He drew an assist on a goal by Stone just 45 seconds into the game, got into a fight with F Tyson Ness at 4:03, and scored his third goal of the season at 11:06. . . . F Mark Mackenzie had a goal, his first in the WHL, and an assist for Red Deer. Mackenzie, 18, is from Kelowna. He actually started last season with the Prince Albert Albert Raiders but ended up in a dispute with team management over playing time and went home. He left about 10 days after a Sept. 10, 2010 incident in which he confronted and fought off a burlgar in the home of his Prince Albert billet. . . . Mackenzie had been playing with the Kelowna-Okanagan College Coyotes before joining the Rebels. He has three points in five games. . . .

In Swift Current, G Alex Moodie stopped 19 shots to help the Saskatoon Blades to a 4-1 victory over the Broncos. . . . Moodie appeared in his eighth straight game, six of which have been starts. He will return to the midget AAA Winnipeg Wild once G Andrey Makarov is recovered from a concussion. . . . Saskatoon held a 32-14 edge in shots after two periods. . . . Swift Current G Jon Groenheyde finished with 36 stops. . . .

In Regina, the Pats erased a 3-1 deficit with six straight goals and beat the Victoria Royals, 7-3. . . . Regina F Andrew Rieder scored three times in the third period, giving him his first career hat trick and 13 goals this season. . . . F Jordan Weal had a five-point night, including two goals. He has 28 scores this season. . . . Regina head coach Pat Conacher spent last season as the assistant GM/assistant coach with the Chilliwack Bruins, who now are the Royals. . . . This was the first game in an East Division swing for the Royals, who have lost 10 in a row. . . . Regina D Martin Marincin, who was acquired Tuesday from the Prince George Cougars, had a goal and two helpers. . . .

In Calgary, F Trevor Cheek had a goal and two assists to help the Hitmen to a 5-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Cheek, who turned 19 on Dec. 29, is a sophomore from Vancouver, Wash. He had 25 points in 57 games last season. He now has 27 points in 37 games this season. . . . Cheek also was plus-4 last night. . . . The Hitmen have won six in a row. . . . Referee Andy Thiessen handed out two minor penalties before 17:17 of the third period. At that point, he dished out 10 minors and eight misconducts. In other words, 100 of the 104 penalty minutes came from one stoppage in play. . . .

In Vancouver, the Tri-City Americans exploded for six second-period goals and went on to beat the Giants, 11-4. . . . F Justin Feser had three goals for the Americans, giving him 21. It was his fourth career hat trick. . . . D Zach Yuen and FAdam Hughesman each was plus-5. . . . Yuen had two assists; Hughesman had two goals and an assist. . . . Tri-City G Eric Comrie stopped 22 shots in improving to 14-3-0. . . . The Americans hadn’t scored 11 goals in a game since March 4, 2003, when they beat Prince Geoge, 11-7. . . . The Giants set a franchise record for most goals against in a single home game. . . . Vancouver lost forwards Brendan Gallagher and Dalton Sward in the first period with undisclosed injuries. . . . Giants D David Musil sat out with a bruised wrist. Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province reports that X-rays were negative. Musil missed practice on Thursday with what the Giants said was a maintenance day. . . . Vancouver D Kiefer McNaughton (broken jaw) was back after a 13-game absence. . . .

In Prince George, G Drew Owsley turned aside 49 shots to lead the Cougars to a 6-3 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . D Cody Carlson had two goals, giving him six, and an assist for the Cougars, who got three assists from F Troy Bourke. . . . The Hurricanes scored first but then gave up three goals in 2:47 late in the first period. . . . The Cougars were 2-for-10 on the PP. . . .

In Everett, F Josh Winquist scored at 3:23 of OT to give the Silvertips a 4-3 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Winquist’s 10th goal came via the PP after Spokane F Dylan Walchuk was hit with a double minor for high-sticking at 2:55 of OT. . . . Everett, which lost twice to Spokane earlier in the week and had lost its last four overall, trailed 3-0 midway through the third period. . . . D Ryan Murray scored a shorthanded goal at 10:10. F Josh Birkholz scored on the PP at 13:41. F Kohl Bauml tied it at 19:32 and then took the stick to the mouth in OT for which Walchuk was penalized. . . . Everett was 2-for-2 on the PP. . . . Everett G Austin Lotz stopped 37 shots. . . . Walchuk, who joined the Chiefs this week after being with Northern Michigan and then the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers this season, scored his first WHL goal in his first game. . . . Spokae D Davis Vandane counted his first WHL goal in his 95th career game. He has played 13 games with the Saskatoon Blades and 82 with the Chiefs. . . . The Chiefs had won 5-3 in Everett on Sunday and 6-1 at home on Wednesday. . . .

In Portland, the Winterhawks tied a franchise record with their 16th straight home-ice victory, beating the Kelowna Rockets, 2-1. . . . The Winterhawks’ record was first set in 1993-94. Portland next plays at home on Monday afternoon when the Tri-City Americans come calling. . . . D Joe Morrow broke a 1-1 tie with a PP goal at 14:43 of the third. . . . F Cam Reid had two assists for Portland in his second game since leaving St. Cloud State. . . . Portland G Mac Carruth stopped 37 shots, two more than Kelowna’s Jordon Cooke. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers scored four times in the game’s first 6:02 and went on to beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 7-1. . . . Kamloops is 2-0 against Seattle with a 15-3 edge in goals. . . . F J.C. Lipon had two goals for Kamloops. . . . F Dylan Willick picked up his 20th goal for the Blazers, who now have four skaters with at least that many goals. . . . The Blazers have won five in a row, while Seattle has lost five straight. . . . Seattle F Tyler Alos is wearing a full cage after taking a puck in the mouth during practice. He ended up with four teeth pushed back, but was fortunate that he didn’t lose any. That is his picture — he tweeted it earlier — at the top of today’s entry.
D Graeme Craig, Swift Current.
D Alex Petrovic, Red Deer.
F Lucas Grayson, Everett.
D Mitchell Chapman, Kelowna.
F Rob Trzonkowski, Calgary.
D Wes Vannieuwenhuizen, Vancouver.

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